2008 Top Innovators: John Koten, Mansueto Ventures
By Matthew Schwartz
Title: CEO-editor in chief
Company: Mansueto Ventures
Comment: Koten has played a key role in driving online initiatives for Mansueto, including the deubut of FastCompany.TV and the relaunch of FastCompany.com
John Koten, CEO and editor in chief of Mansueto Ventures, calls it the MySpace for entrepreneurs: IncBizNet, an online business networking community and user-generated company database focused exclusively on private companies.
Since it was launched in October more than 10,000 private companies have created profiles on IncBizNet, and many of them have registered multiple senior managers.
“We're taking the concept of community to a new level and integrating community in an organic way to online, magazine and everything we do,” said Koten, who in September 2005 was named CEO and editor in chief of Mansueto Ventures soon after the company bought Inc. and Fast Company from the now-defunct Gruner+Jahr USA.
Koten pointed to Inc-BizNet as one of three major innovations he's overseen at Mansueto. The other two were the relaunch of FastCompany.com in February and the debut of FastCompany.TV in March.
Koten said that unlike many Web sites in the media space, FastCompany.com allows readers to view original editorial right beside user-generated content. “It's different from what any publisher is doing in terms of people participating in the conversation and doing it on the home page,” Koten said. At deadline, FastCompany.com had registered 110,532 members, 793 of whom have created blogs that are contributed to the site.
FastCompany.TV—which now has three channels, with more to follow—has been able to distinguish itself from many online-video plays by creating original content in a broadcast format rather than simply repurposing print stories, Koten said.
All told, Mansueto's online revenue grew 30% in 2007 compared with 2006.
Koten has also played a key role in boosting Mansueto's print products. In October Inc. raised its rate base to 700,000 from 665,000, the first such increase since 2002. In the first quarter, ad pages for Inc. were flat, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Meanwhile, Fast Company's ad pages were up 29% from last year's first quarter.
“It's not an easy time for b-to-b magazines,” Koten said. “Inc. is holding steady, and Fast Company has defined its mission by not falling back into traditional business journalism and not being afraid to do a modern business magazine. People are looking for new sources of information and advice.”
|MEDIA BUSINESS - TOP INNOVATORS|
|John Koten Mansueto Ventures|
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